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Suspected drugs deaths in north echoes previous incidents

A spate of up to 20 drugs deaths in 2013 where blamed on a batch of drugs known as 'Green Rolexes'
Analysis by Allison Morris

THE deaths of up to four young people over the Christmas period in suspected drug related deaths, has once again lead to a call for caution around uncontrolled and unknown substances.

The number of deaths in such a short space of time has lead to concerns that a 'bad batch' of drugs may have made its way into Northern Ireland.

It's not the first time that multiple deaths have been linked to a specific batch of drugs.

In 2013 there were up to 20 deaths over a period of months linked to a type of Ecstasy pill called 'Green Rolexes' and 'Speckled Cherries', both of which contained a substance known as PMMA.

Coroner John Leckey likened the deaths at the time to "having a serial killer on the loose".

Among those who died was James Owens (33) who was found outside a leisure centre in west Belfast in June 2013, his family broke the silence surrounding the spate of deaths to appeal for people not to take illegal drugs.

In June 2013 east Belfast man, Alan McKenzie (26) went to sleep and never woke up after taking pills from the bad batch, his inquest was told.

Neill Reeves (29) died after taking drugs with friends at home in July 2013.

Brian Mills (41) was found unconscious at home in Kircubbin, County Down, in August 2013.

Kevin Doherty (29) died after a house party in Divis in west Belfast in September of the same year.

In 2001 three friends Eamon McCoubrey (22), Jim O'Connor (20) and Thomas Sterritt (18) all died on the same night after consuming a cocktail of prescription drugs and alcohol.

An inquest found they had died from morphine poisoning.

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